Fast track or not, on T5Back to Forum
AnonymousGuest6 May 2009
A couple of days ago I was at T5, as usual I walked the looong way down to the fast track, on my way down I noticed some of the non fast track lines were much less crowded than the line at the fast track, so I decided to skip the fast track and jumped the barrier into one that had almost no people.
Not so long after me, another fellow made the same choice, but he was so unfortunate that one of the gards noticed him. The guard came up, asked to see his ticket and then sent him back to the fast track queue.
Now I wonder, does it mean that if you are eligible for fast track on Heathrow T5, you are not allowed to enter another line?
Or was it just that the guy (and I) took the liberty to jump the barrier, or???6 May 2009
The reason the BAA staff police this sort of queue jumping is that it is rare for all lines to operate a “shoes off policy” at the same time.
Consequently, it might be possible for a wily terrorist, once he/she has sussed which lines are “shoes off” to simply opt into a line where the shoe carnival was not in operation and sneak through unnoticed.
Similar issue might apply if they “knew” one of the BAA people doing the pat down.
It is a justifiable security measure, though would be much easier to know in advance that once you have selected a queue, you must not switch queues.
Thje concept of Fast Track is lost on those responsible for running T5.
BAA blame BA for only paying for one Fast Track scanner, when in fact there should be proportionately more scanners at the end of the Fast Track queue to ensure there is little or no wait for Premium Passengers.
Usual pathetic childish stand-off between greedy BAA and BA’s decimated management, who seem unable to grapple with the problem.
All this when pax numbers are down 10%, giving no capacity excuse for slow processing.
Result: the security waits at T5 are actually getting worse than they were late in 2008, and passengers suffer.6 May 2009
And let us not forget the training motto for the yellow shirted bumblebees foisted upon us at Terminal 5 (and in that regard, at all BAA airports) –
why say something politely when you can instead shout and yell at customers as if they are a herd of cattle? I’ve even had more positive experiences with the TSA crowd in the US (who seem to have been sent to charm school recently) that with the BAA nerds.
And just why can’t BAA police a fast-track queue? It is unreal. Time, too, for the BA Management to stand up and make their voices heard – and if BAA don’t pay attention, take the spat public and shame the airport authority. They are already being publicly shamed with the falling value of Gatwick – proof their retail emporia concept just isn’t popular with people trying to travel rather than shop!7 May 2009
I agree T5 is pathetic ! Coming back from Cape Town (BA 1st class) and Washington (BA Club World) and flying on to Newcastle there is NO fast track to clear security. So arriving say at 06:30 ish just wanting to get to the lounge for a shower you have to endure massive queues. Coming back from Washington I had 2 further “problems”, first we got bussed off the plane so lost the advantage of being first off and second when nearly at the scanner the person had an argument with a colleaugue about who’s turn it was to go to the loo thus holding things up another 10 mins ! Whilst I prefer BA to KLM, I think Ams is much better for returning flights from the US. You can go straight to the lounge and only have to clear securtity at the gate for your UK flight. Also KLM Business is typically almost half the price of BA so I find it increasingly harder to justify BA. The management of both BAA and BA should be fired for the treatment of premium passengers at T5 since it’s mainly club and 1st who make all the profit !7 May 2009
Fast track at T5 is a joke. On only one occassion out of about ten in the last few months have I been asked to show my entitlement to fast track..just join any queue is the approach. Pot luck seems to be the order of the day. Fast Track is no such thing! Initial promises of a few minutes to clear security are not being met. Often there are three or more channels which are not staffed whilst there are long lines waiting to pass through7 May 2009
It’s of course very easy to complain about security at any airport, and having flown through far too many that I wish to remember, while T5 isn’t perfect, it normally moves very quickly, especially when compared to other major gateways wirth similar traffic. The main problem I have is that when you connect in T5, go up the escalator, you would expect Fast Track to be the first few lines, and not the one all the way at the end. When busy, you have to pass by major crowds, often bumping their luggage/children/etc to get to the far end. As a normally first class passenger, I find this ridiculous. When you check in at T5, Fast Track is immediately after check-in, it should be the same for those of us connecting through as well, right after the escalator.
Another headache is all these business tycoon wannabees who are on their blackberries until the very last minute each one trying to be more impressive or look busier and hence more important than the next and who do not prepare themselves for the security conveyor until they get right up to it, and then take forever putting their things together. If you want to be really impressive, prove to us that you are a seasoned traveller and have your laptops out, coats off, belt and shoes at the ready when you get to the conveyor, that will tell us much more about how well travelled you are as oppossed to writing your wife on your blackberry!
Other than that, I think the system in place for security, is excellent.7 May 2009
I’ve found the T5 fast track to be very good, except when we flew out on good friday eve, when we were just unlucky – a lot of people turned up at the same time. Even the security were saying to the fast track passengers to use the non-fast track. 10 minutes later, the queues were back to normal (ie low).7 May 2009
Hi dutchyankee, thanks. I did not realise there was a fast track for connections. Like you say, when you reach the top of the escalator it is very crowded and I’ve always just joined the first line. From what you are saying, if I go further on there is a fast track line. ? However, this reinforces the point that BAA has poor service since there should be signs for connecting passengers pointing out the fast track lines. With regards to fast track, I must admit that most US airports are much better at this. The ones I use always have a fast track for top level frequent flyers/first/business and the security staff are VERY diligent in checking that you are entitled to use it. BAA take note7 May 2009
Hi Biggless. Thanks, yes there is a Fast Track for connections but it is truly poorly placed all the way at the other end so you end up walking past numerous security lines, before reaching Fast Track. There is usually a guard there but often they have not asked to see my boarding pass. At T5 fast track works really well if you originate from Heathrow (checkin at T5) with proper checks, and lounge is right after the Fast Track Security Line so great, but for us connecting passengers, a real disaster!!7 May 2009
I am not familiar with Fast track at T5. At Gatwick North Terminal Fast track is a waste of time. As the way the entrance area is set up it captures most people entering security from the many check zones to the left. As BAA staff never check entitlement it’s often faster to use a non-Fast track lane. They don’t check entitlement for the non-Fast track lanes either. Also it used to be the case that the Fast track lane was only open until 3pm. A nice extra money earner for BAA, without providing the service. I hope the new owners of Gatwick, who ever they are going to be, put this right.7 May 2009
The other tip (not that it will help those transferring at T5) is to walk to the far end of the terminal and use security by First. Unfortunately, the Transfer security lanes are the closest to both the domestic gates, and the exits from the train and tube platforms and consequently always seem to be much busier. I’ve rarely waited much longer than 5 minutes to get through security and often have no wait at all.7 May 2009
I usually fly Club / First and I have to connect via T5 and the location of the Fast Track is quite ridiculous. Last time coming back from Chicago early Monday morning (1st class) we had to wait like 15 -20′ until being able to get upstairs – it was so crowded that you couldn’t move. Getting to the fast track was impossible so I took the first line I could. Pretty ridiculous when you are paying so much money for a hassle free trip!7 May 2009
Fast Track at T5 is nothing of the sorts – every week I go through and every week the same thing. Long queues, often longer than the non fast track – this week took over 20 mins. One of the benefits of being a premium passenger is to turn up later than others and benefit from speed? Looks like this isn’t a consideration for BAA / BA….7 May 2009
I fully agree with everyone that Fast Track at T5 for connecting passengers is a joke, as I already have posted, but I think to be fair, this is more a BAA problem than that of BA, and how much BA can really influence BAA is very questionable. Look at the mess at T1, and T3, this is BAA at their worst (or perhaps at their best which is a worry)! Where BA is involved such as at Check-in, Lounges, on Board, etc., they typically excel which is of course why so many of us keep flying with them!7 May 2009